The Invisalign system is comprised of a series of clear, thin, customized aligners that fit over your teeth, progressively straightening them. This system is an effective alternative to metal braces when used in appropriate cases. The main benefits of the Invisalign system are greatly improved appearance and comfort. The Invisalign aligners are removed during eating, and when brushing and flossing. This may reduce the risk of both cavities and gum disease when compared to traditional braces.
The first step in the process is scheduling an appointment with us. The proper candidate for this system would be an adult who has slight to moderate spacing or crowding of his or her teeth or a teenager who has all their permanent teeth except for the third molars. After an initial evaluation, we will inform the patient whether he or she will benefit from the Invisalign system. Impressions (molds) of the teeth are taken and then we write up a detailed set of instructions that are sent to Invisalign.
In the process of planning, the lab will send us a preview or prototype via the Internet of how the appliances will straighten your teeth. This information is used to design a series of clear aligners. Depending on each individual, 12 to 48 aligners may be needed to achieve the required result. As part of treatment, we may need to reshape certain teeth and only one visit every six weeks is required.
In some cases some individuals are not initially good candidates for the Invisalign System. In this situation the patient may benefit from wearing metal or ceramic braces for several months, then switching over to the more comfortable and appealing Invisalign System.
Be Careful With Toothpicks
Most dentists agree that toothpicks should be used sparingly as a method of teeth cleaning and should never be considered a substitute for brushing teeth and flossing. Fact is they should be used only when a toothbrush or floss is not available, for example, when you are in a restaurant and have food trapped between teeth.
Toothpicks that are used overzealously can damage tooth enamel, lacerate gums, and even cause a broken tooth in severe cases. People who have bonding or veneers can chip or break them if they aren’t careful. Overly aggressive use of toothpicks can severely wear the roots of teeth, especially in cases where gums have pulled away from the teeth and leave teeth with root surfaces exposed, notably in the elderly.
Toothpicks date back to 3,500 BC when the earliest known oral hygiene kit featuring a toothbrush was found at the Ningal Temple in Ur. In China, a curved pendant, made of cast bronze was worn around the neck and used as a toothpick. In 536 BC, the Chinese mandated a law that required the use of the toothpick because their armies suffered from bad breath. In the Old Testament, it is written that “one may take a splinter from the wood lying near him to clean his teeth.”
Today, most toothpicks in the United States come from “toothpick trees” in Maine. The tree is a white birch which has its trunk cut into thin sheets that are cut again to the thickness and length of toothpicks.
Dentists can tell when they have a habitual toothpick user in their dental chair. There are the tell-tale signs of toothpick marks. So use them if you have too, but don’t make it a habit. Brush and floss instead.
Tough Brushing Tortures Teeth
Most dentists don’t go a day without seeing patients who are damaging their teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Some report that as many as two out of three patients brush their teeth too hard. This is a problem. A stiff-bristled toothbrush combined with overzealous brushing teeth can cause serious dental problems over time, including gum disease and tooth sensitivity.
People think that if they brush twice as hard, they will do twice as much good, In fact, overzealous brushing can cause significant damage to the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. If you used the same amount of force and brush the side of your arm, you could take your skin off.
One way to avoid damaging your teeth and gums is to purchase a “soft” toothbrush featuring rounded bristles which are less abrasive to teeth. You should hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist. When brushing, do not `scrub’ the teeth with a horizontal, back-and-forth motion.
Instead, start at the gum line and angle the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush both the teeth and the gums at the same time. Push hard enough to get the bristles under the gumline but not so hard that the bristles flare out. It’s also a wise move to limit the amount of toothpaste because it is abrasive.
The irony is that dentists want people to brush longer, not harder. Children and adults tend to spend less than one minute at a time brushing their teeth, even though removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. Remember: brush longer, not harder.
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